At the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication, three well-known scholars of composition led a discussion on a writing exercise they'd assigned themselves. Each wrote for an hour a day for a 30-day month on an everyday object, a consciousness-raising activity that revealed much about the the objects examined and the writers themselves. We've taken it upon ourselves to replicate this exercise and record the results here.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
The Ship Shape
All I can remember with clarity is the water. We went every year on the same stupid vacation, to the same beach, until I was eleven. Packing up the burgundy mini-van early in the morning and arriving to the isle by early afternoon, we would go to the rental agency, wait for dad to get the house key, and then head for the cottage – me, my little brother Bryan, mom and dad.
“Dad, can I have a key to the cottage to carry?” Just something to have in my pocket.
“No, Danny,” he responded every time.
Cottage is a term used for a shitty little house dank with humidity, surrounded by larger houses on stilts that have stupid name like “Beach Bum’s Haven” and “The Ship Shape.” Our cottage had no name on a board out front, so I named it “The Shit Shape.”
I don’t like the beach. The sand, the heat, the stupid towels decorated with pirate ships or ponies, the guys with coolers and kids with buckets. They are a blur of annoyance. But there is one time of the day I do like the beach – right before the sun slips below the horizon of water.
I remember hearing Forrest Gump in that movie Forrest Gump describing the sunset on the water as having like a million little lights dancing on it or something like that. That guy was an idiot, literally, but he described that right. Sunset was the only time of the day when I could go to the water’s edge and see sparks of red, yellow, orange, gold flickering like lightening bugs on the otherwise dark water.
I like sunset because by then my family has been on the beach all day, at least my mom and little brother have been while my dad plays golf with which ever shitty rich guy he has found. Anyway, I like this time of the day because I can be by myself. Even if there are a few other people walking or sitting on the dunes, I at least felt alone.
And it changes, the water at sunset. One minute it’s green with yellow reflected and the next minute dark blue with orange. Even if other people are there, they don’t notice the water or deserve this time like I do. I stand there from the time the bottom of the sun starts to touch the water until the very tip is submerged. When it’s still light outside but there is no apparent sun.
I wouldn’t bother changing out of my board shorts or putting on a t-shirt before I left The Shit Shape and went to the water. I liked staying barefoot at sunset even with all the stupid sand. The sand at sunset feels different, better, than the daytime sand. Not as coarse. Nice and cool between my toes until I get closer to the water and the sand is firmer, like a sidewalk but cool on the soles of my feet.